Wales -Walking in Wales
The Way ahead with local pics by Gypsy Willow
Wonderful Wales New walking trails and the amazing Coastal Path
The Principality of Wales is unique amongst the countries that make up the British Isles in that it has its own working language. On visiting Wales you will find that the road signs are in both English and Welsh, and Welsh is widely spoken and taught in schools. One thing that is in common with neighboring England is the public footpath system. To make the most of this great feature, a map showing footpaths is very useful not to mention essential. The maps produced by the Ordnance survey are the most detailed and show not only the foot paths that you have a legal right to walk on but also terrain features and contour lines which will give you an idea of how strenuous a walk may become.
Waterproof boots and clothing may also be required as Wales is green for a reason! It is the prevailing, moisture laden westerly wind sweeping in from Irish Sea that keeps it that way. If you check the weather forecast before you set out, you should have a good idea about what's in store. Nevertheless, I always carry a rolled up waterproof in my rucksack, just in case.
There are many long distance footpaths taking you through areas of outstanding beauty. These paths are being added too all the time. Refer to http://wales.gov.uk/location/central_wales/latestnews/footpath/?lang=en. The Pembrokeshire Coast Path in West Wales is just under 200 miles of footpaths along cliff tops and beaches. Refer to http://www.national trail.co.uk/trail.asp?PageId=33
Another amazing trail is the Offas Dyke, over 170 miles long with 70 of them along the actual ancient Offas Dyke. Refer to http://www.offasdyke.demon.co.uk/trail.htm . This website gives lots of information on the Dyke and also has contact numbers for reasonable accommodation along the way. Offas Dyke was built by the king of Mercia in England in the mid 700 A.D. to keep the Welsh at bay. Folklore has it that any Welshman found on the English side had his ears lopped off and any English man found on the Welsh side was hanged! (This is only folk lore and no longer practised!)
There is a network of beautiful paths throughout Wales from paths taking you to the summit of Mount Snowdon in the North to paths in the Wye Valley past Tintern Abbey in the south connecting to Offas Dyke.
Wales is your oyster. Bird watching is a wonderful way to expand the pleasure of your walk as Wales is home to many rare birds. While traversing the Pembrokeshire coastal trail you may get a glimpse of the Puffin nesting on the craggy cliffs. Wildflowers abound especially in the Spring. Wales has many standing stones, dolmen or burial sites, old and ancient churches. Wales boasts over 600 castles, many of them that you can visit.
Work is continually being done to extend trails and repair ancient monuments. Even the old pigsty that I photographed has now been restored. Though I must say I preferred the old version.
Be sure to take your camera! Enjoy!